Day 100 – The Puzzle – The Power Of Frequency In Your Marketing

Yesterday I teased you with this blog post about the Facebook ad above that I saw on Monday.

This is the second time this year a local restaurant has targeted me, which blows me away. 

This is a new franchise wing joint that just opened near me and I for sure will be going to visit. This a great example of how powerful these ads are and WHY you should be doing it.  A month ago I drove by this before it was open and texted my son.  He’s a big fan of their wings and I knew he’d be excited.  But guess what, I FORGOT about it. 

Day 99 – The Puzzle – A Restaurant & Business Used Facebook To Get My Business

Well, companies in the big cities are finally waking up, when will you?

Since 2016 I’ve been traveling the country and scratching my head by the fact that NO ONE is targeting me when I arrive through the tourist marketing options inside of Facebook.

Equally perplexing is the fact that no local restaurants target me at home.

Well, I’m hoping that’s about to change.  Since around 2010 I’ve been helping restaurants run targeted ads on Facebook. By 2014 I figured out how to use Facebook ads to drive sales and by 2015 I created a solution to gather customer data and drive sales.  From 2014-2020 we spent millions for clients on Facebook ads and helped many restaurants grow.  

I’ve been waiting for the day to come for you all to wake up to this opportunity, and maybe it’s here.


Well, because I’m now finally seeing tourist marketing on Facebook. In fact, I started getting more and more of it in 2023.  This past week I flew into New York to take a cruise with my family and right away I was hit with many offers to restaurants and attractions.  In fact, the coffee mug picture above is from one of those ads.   Edge NYC targeted me with an ad for their observation tower, and $190 later this video was created…CLICK TO WATCH.

So I’m excited because if these spots in big cities are finally jumping on board, then maybe, just maybe local restaurants won’t be far behind. 

CLICK HERE to listen to episode 667 of my podcast, Restaurant Marketing Secrets where I discuss this topic.

This is why you’re scared to email your customers… #restaurantindustry

Because you don’t want to come off as spam!

Remember, your emails should offer value and relevance. It’s not always about saying “BUY MY FOOD!”. Instead, focus on sharing content that resonates with why they follow you in the first place. Keep them engaged and interested!

Looking for more restaurant marketing advice? Check the link in my bio for my daily podcast and daily blog created to help YOU- Independent restaurant owners!

#EntrepreneurLife #RestaurantMarketing #shorts

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Day 98 – The Puzzle – What Should Your Restaurants Email & Text Customer Journey Look Like?

Today we’re going to talk about the journey your customers should take once you know who they are.

BUT FIRST, check out the ad above.  This, my friends, is only the 2nd paid Facebook ad for a restaurant I’ve seen this year from a local restaurant, more on this in tomorrow’s blog post.

Let’s start at the top.  Below is how ALL of your restaurants customer acquisition marketing should go.


Every restaurant should have a STRONG call to action on:

– Business cards owners and employees pass out in the community

– Your website pop-up

– A weekly social media post

– Your ongoing social media ads

– Posters, table toppers and check presenters in your restaurant.

And at the end of the day, everywhere you will interact with a customer should have an OUTSTANDING offer should be front and center.

Opt-In Form

What information should you ask for:

– Name
– Cell Phone
– Email
– Visit Frequency
– Birthday


Last but not least this information should be loaded into a restaurant marketing software that has the following:

– Welcome email/text
– Bi-Weekly email/text reminders to use the offer
– Automation built in for birthday campaign based off info the customer gave you
– Ability to segment based on visit frequency
– A nurture that at least runs on auto-pilot for 90-120 days. 


Social media shouldn’t be used the same way you used radio ads in the 90s. #restaurantindustry

Spamming feeds with endless food pictures doesn’t engage – people just tune out. Share stories, connect authentically, and build a community, not just another ad space.

Thank you to Duce Raymond from Sweet Baby Rays Catering for having me on his podcast. You can check out the full episode of The Duce Raymond Podcast on your favorite platform or by clicking the link below:

#RestaurantMarketing #SocialMediaRestaurant #shorts

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Day 97 – The Puzzle – Restaurant Customer Acquisition Continued

Ok, back to how restaurants can acquire customers for their restaurants.

The 3 examples below are very similar restaurants.  They share the same type of food, service, and location.  And, their customer feedback and review scores are really close.  So we are comparing apples to apples here.  

So let’s see what the journey can look like for a restaurant.   And see why one has a 19% redemption rate and an acquisition cost of $3.44, while one is 10% and $25 🙁




There are 2 factors I look at here to tell the story:

1st – Redemption %

2nd – Acquisition Cost

3rd – Review Rating

Review Rating

Let’s start with #3, the review ratings.  These are private reviews the customers leave after they visit.  It’s a quick survey in Messenger that is simply meant to identify bad experiences and get that to a manager, or deliver a link to Google for people with 4 and 5-star ratings.  This is important to me because the success of all marketing depends on the products you serve.  You’d think this is known by all, but we’ve had clients with 3.5-star ratings through our system and wonder why their redemption % is low.   I’m like seriously!  If these customers are giving you bad reviews, that means others have many times as well, and that in turn means the word on the street is your restaurant sucks.  So, how good, or bad you deliver your product will affect results. 

Redemption % 

#1 is the redemption percentage and this is a funny topic to talk about.  Direct mail companies have always talked about success being a 2-5% redemption rate and that was accepted by all of you.  Meanwhile, I get restaurants upset with a 10% redemption percentage.  This number is reflective of how you are viewed in your region.  It’s 100% a product of the amount of “know, like & trust” you have with the community.  

We aim to get all clients to a 30% to 35% redemption percentage. BUT, that might take 2-3 years for some restaurants.  I can tell you with absolute certainty that if you reach a consumer in your neighborhood who looks like your other customers and you give them a high-value offer, say a free burger, and they don’t take you up on it, YOU HAVE A BRANDING ISSUE!  

But not all is lost.  This isn’t a huge deal, it’s just a sign that you need to keep putting irresistible offers in front of the people around your restaurant and retargeting them with other content that pushes them over the hump.  I’ve personally had offers for businesses around me that I’ve not used for 12 months.  The timing isn’t right, I forget, I’m not sold yet, etc.  There are many reasons people don’t take you up on your offer, but the #1 reason is typically that you’ve not made a compelling sales pitch for them to.  You might have given me a free pizza, but am I going to drive past my regular spot to give you a try?

Acquisition cost

Now let’s talk about how much it’s going to cost to acquire customers and why this number is typically much lower than customers realize. I say this number is much lower because of the lifetime value of customers.  

Let’s look at an average scenario.  Restaurant #3 above, the program is 1 year old.  It’s a heritage restaurant with new ownership.  The old owners never marketed so the new owners have some lifting to do.  They have a 20% redemption % and $3.44 acquisition cost.  This means that 1 out of every 5 customers who are acquired visits and that 1 visit costs the restaurant owner $3.44

– You acquire 500 new customers into your database
– You convince 100 of those customers to visit
– You spend $344 to gain 500 customers into your marketing program and 100 of them to visit.
– They spend $2,170

Now I’m not going to get into profit from this SINGLE visit by your customers, because that’s not how you look at this.  But it’s pretty damn easy to see that you just funded next month’s ad costs with the profit from this $2,170, it’s a freaking no-brainer.

The VALUE with these 100 customers is their future visits. Here’s how I see that going for most restaurants

– 30 will be one and done, they won’t come back anytime soon

– 50 will become occasional customers, visiting 5 times per year over the next 3 years: 15 visits x 50 customers = 750 visits

– 20 will become hard-core customers, visiting 15 times per year over the next 3 years:  45 visits x 20 customers = 900 visits

So this restaurant stands to gain 1.650 visits at $21.70, which is $17,175 in sales.  

So you just gave out $500 in free food (your cost) and spent $344 and got close to $20,000 in sales with the first visit and the following 3 years.

How it WORLD are none of you freaking doing this?  I just don’t get it. 


 Don’t forget about the 400 customers who gave you their contact info who did not visit immediately.  10-15% of them will follow the same path as above, adding another $17,000 in sales. 



All three of these restaurants have a story of their own and every restaurant’s marketing journey will be different.  

Restaurant #3 has solid results due to it being a heritage restaurant in their community, but weak everywhere else.  They also have new owners who are starting to do more, and if they stick with that, this 20% could be 40% within a few years. 

 The #2 and #3 are strong brands, but they are just now laying their foundation.  They are newer brands that the masses don’t know about.  The word-of-mouth marketing hasn’t had time to take hold and they’ve not advertised enough to build their following.

As I’ve said, acquisition marketing is 100% a product of their brand strength in the community and it’s just not there yet.  So it’s all about taking a strategy like this and sticking with it along with what we’ll talk about in tomorrow’s blog. 

Tomorrow we discuss the funnel these customers are, or should be put into, so they follow a very specific marketing path catered to their journey with the restaurant.  


Day 96 – The Puzzle – What Does Restaurant Marketing Success Look Like

I’ve been in restaurant marketing since 2008 and I’ve seen it all.  We have a very high customer retention rate, towards the top in our industry. 

But we do lose clients from time to time., and many who leave me have me scratching my head.  I’ve had owners love our work one day, and hate it the next.  Their dissatisfaction always stems from a lack of sales growth, which they blame on our efforts.  It never crosses their mind how their past sins are more likely to be blamed for the lack of results.  Simply put, they’ve not spent enough time building their marketing foundation, they just keep hopping around looking for a marketing magic pill to cure their sales issues. 

In yesterday’s blog, I talked about how the strength of a brand dictates how easy or hard it is to sell products.   At the end of the day whoever spends the most money to acquire a customer’s attention wins.  Why do you think all the big brands do so well, they spend more money on advertising over a long period and LIVE IN THEIR CUSTOMERS’ HEADS. If you haven’t read Day 96, DO IT NOW 🙂 

Meanwhile, mom-and-pop restaurants either wear a badge of honor of “we don’t advertise” or they are constantly changing strategies and never building momentum.  

Now, I am taking for granted 3 key factors;

– Your food doesn’t suck.

– Your service doesn’t suck.

– And your restaurant atmosphere is a place people enjoy. 

Assuming you have those items in place and you’ve built a solid restaurant operationally, then the following advice is for you.


There are some of the basic elements you must have in place before focusing on growing your sales from marketing

– Solid up-to-date website

– Professionally created logo and branding kit (exact colors, logo variations, etc.)

– A customer database software

– Active social media pages, bonus points if you actually use social media correctly

– Up-to-date online profiles that all match

– Internal branding that looks JUST LIKE everything online

– Internal marketing that’s changed often and not out of date and stale.

– Professionally designed menu that is current and does not have white-out.

– Bi-weekly email and text blasts

– Customer loyalty and rewards program

– Internal and web customer acquisition program tied into your customer database program

So What is restaurant marketing success?

Now that we’ve covered most of the basics, in my opinion, the next step is a two-pronged approach:  

1st – Paid advertising to mainly acquire customer data

2nd – Marketing funnels built inside your customer database software that takes people on an automated journey.  

With this in mind I always am asked the same question “Matt, how can we drive sales from our emails, text messaging, and social media marketing?”

Well, for today’s blog we’ll focus on the 1st Step above, but with a twist.  We’re going to talk about using paid Facebook and Instagram advertising to build your database, while also driving sales that will FUND the upfront cost of your marketing.

You see, the 2nd step revolves around using your customer database marketing software.  I like to compare software like that to a Ferrari, its an awesome machine, but without GAS it’s going to go nowhere. 

Customer Acquisition

Customer acquisition isn’t hard.  There are 3 core places you should be focusing on EVERY DAY to build your customer database

1st – Inside Your Store (that’s for another day)

2nd – Your Website (another day too)

3rd – Online & Social Media and paid ads are where this starts.

Your brand is what fuels sales growth.  How strong do you think how close are you to having marketing that drives sales on demand?

Many things influence your success, but today I will stick with the theme of NOT skipping steps and waiting in line.  

One, well three, of the items that are a major part of this, is what I talk about in DAY 59 of The Puzzle, it covers this in-depth and will give you more context.  The basics are that your type of food, level of service, and location will dictate the cost of customer acquisition.

At a basic level, if you’re a fast food chicken tender restaurant off an expressway exit in the suburbs, you’re going to have one of the lowest customer acquisition costs available.  On the other end of the spectrum would be a high-end restaurant in an urban area.  I highly encourage you to read Day 59 of The Puzzle, it goes much deeper.   

The marketing that drives sales is a long road.  It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight.  

But that shouldn’t be a big deal because most of you signed a 10-year lease with a personal guarantee.  You bought six figures in equipment and probably spent $30-50,000 on outdoor signs.  Plus,  you don’t plan on quitting anytime soon, RIGHT?

With that in mind, why shouldn’t you expect your marketing plan for many years to hit full speed?

Great, now that we’re on the same page let’s discuss ACQUIRING CUSTOMERS.

I want to ask you a question; if your restaurant gave customers an amazing offer, what percentage would they take it?  

I mean and offer they’d feel stupid saying no to.

A 100% free pizza.

A 100% free burger combo.

A 100% free burrito & chips.

If 1,000 customers raised their hand and in exchange for their contact information you gave them a free item, how many would walk through your doors and spend money with you?

For years we’ve been told that success in Direct Mail was 2-5%.  So if you had 1,000 people get that same offer in the mail, you could expect 25-50 to become customers.

Well, here’s the good news, it’s MUCH HIGHER in digital marketing.  What I’m going to show you is much more intrusive than direct mail and when your customers engage with this type of marketing they are more vested.  You can expect to see 10% to 30% from strategies like this.  We’ve even seen some outliers get 40-50%, which is INSANE!

But first, let’s discuss the difference between 10% and 30%.  

There are two key elements to these results, assuming you have a STRONG call to action ad:

1st – My 3 bullseyes,  what I covered in DAY 59 of The PuzzleCLICK HERE to read.

2nd – The Strength Of Your Brand.

Now, don’t get mad at me for this one, because I’ve had a few who have in the past.  Just because you have a great restaurant that has solid sales numbers and great reviews does not mean you have STRONG brand marketing.  Yes, your current customers love you, but you’re a GHOST to everyone else and that’s who we are trying to find.  So to them, your brand isn’t relevant.  

I can recall a conversation earlier this year with a client who could not comprehend this.  His restaurant does a few million per year and is a 10 out of 10, I’ve been to it.  But, to 95% of the people 3-5 miles from his restaurant he’s just another storefront.  So when I say you have a weak brand, I mean to the general public.  Let’s face it, all of you have a strong brand with your top customers, that’s why they come every week.  

The goal of this paid advertising strategy is to introduce what you’ve built to new people, remind people who forgot about you and get in the heads of your best customers even more. 

Tomorrow, we dig into what this looks like.

To be continued.


Day 95 – The Puzzle – No Skipping Line Part 2

Marketing success is a line, a LONG ASS LINE!

Nike – In 1964 Phil Knight started what we know as Nike. They went public in 1980. In the mid 70’s Phil Knight was always bumming money from sales reps while traveling, because he was putting every penny into Nike.  But it wasn’t until 1984 when they signed Michael Jordan that they started to catch their stride.  The Jordan brand is a huge lesson in marketing.  I grew up wearing Air Jordan, but it wasn’t until 10-15 years ago that the Jordan Brand REALLY took off.  Today, Jordan can launch anything and everything and sell out instantly.  

Apple – In 1976 Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple.  But I’m going to guess 99% of Apple users who read this blog didn’t have one of their products until the debut of the Apple iPhone in 2008.  Apple could announce an insanely high-priced phone, tablet, or laptop today and consumers would run out the door to get it.  

Chipotle – The first Chipotle opened in Denver on July 13th, 1993 (that’s me visiting it in the picture above back in 2018. A fan, Levi, wanted to meet me to get a signed copy of my first book).  In 2000 they were a client of mine in radio.  They had one store on UC’s campus and no one had any clue who they were.  Heck, I thought it was a local spot.  I had free food there for two years and would tell people about it all of the time and I never had anyone say “oh yeah, I know that spot.”  Flash forward to 2010 and they started making noise in our area.  Now in 2024, they are easily the biggest brand in most major areas, including Northern Kentucky. 

Chick-fil-A – In 1961 Truett Cathy founded Chick-fil-A.  From 1995-1998 I had one on my college campus, for 2 years I stayed in the dorm building it was housed in.  I ate there twice most days.  Again, I had no clue what Chick-fil-A was, and now that’s a much different story.

So why am I giving you a business history lesson?  

Because every major brand we know today started just like you and I, and they struggled with marketing and sales.  They meant absolutely nothing to anyone, yet today they are icons and leaders in their industry 

BRAND and time build marketing campaigns that drive sales. 

Every example above waited their turn in line.  Some longer than others, but along the way they took important steps to build a brand that sells products easily. 

Now onto you.

As you probably know by this point, we help restaurants drive sales through marketing strategies built around their customer database.  I’ve been doing pretty much the same thing since 2008. 

The strategies we use work great, but to different degrees based on the restaurant’s brand strength.  You can have two identical restaurants in two different places in the line.  We can launch a campaign with restaurant #1 and see 40% conversion rates and customer acquisition costs of $2-3.  With restaurant #2 it could be 10% conversion rates and $10 to acquire a customer.  

Does that mean our marketing plan isn’t working?  NOPE.  It simply means each of those restaurants is in a different place in the minds of the consumer.  And if you want to be restaurant #1 the only thing that fixes that is taking the necessary steps and committing to take the TIME to get there.  

I’ve worked with thousands of small businesses and restaurants.  I’ve had tens of thousands of conversations.  

I’d say 50%-75% of the restaurant owners that we come across want one thing, sales tomorrow.  They don’t want to hear that it’s going to take 2-3 years.  I can point out a laundry list of issues with their marketing; their website, database size, social media marketing, branding, etc.  

They brush it all off and think that’s all “no big deal.”  

Then after a few months pass and they don’t see MASSIVE results, they want to cancel.  What they don’t realize is the results are not a product of us, or any marketing campaign, it’s almost always a product of their lack of WAITING IN LINE!  

I’ll never forget a client we worked with for a year, Cup Bop, out in Idaho. The owner hired us for our restaurant customer acquisition program and mentioned he wasn’t happy with their prior advertising agency.  He said they never saw an increase in sales and their marketing had no proof tied to it.  When I examined the campaigns they’d been running, it was all branding.  Zero calls-to-action, simple branding 101.  

After one month with us, their sales were up 18% and the owner was ecstatic.  But I did something he wasn’t expecting, I gave a lot of credit to the prior agency.  I told him our program kicked off so strong due to the branding the prior company had done.  They put Cup Bop into customers’ minds and primed the audience for us.  Was our program a success 100% due to that, no, but it put us farther up in the line for sure. 

Sales success is a product of a great restaurant and great marketing.  You must have both.  And when you have that great restaurant, no marketing campaign is going to pay off right away. You have to be willing to build a marketing plan and stick with it for a LONG TIME. 

Tomorrow’s blog post is going to be about what marketing success looks like.  Meaning, that when you spend X, what can you expect to get Y.  This way you’ll have some idea of how long the line is that you’re standing in and what steps to take to move forward. 


LMS is the secret sauce that every entrepreneur needs to use daily!

LMS stands for:

– Lead: Guide your team with clarity about where you are, where you’re going, and their role in the journey.

– Market: Promote your business not just to customers but also to vendors and potential employees. Show why people should do business with or work for you.

– Sell: Engage your community and sell your product effectively. Without community engagement, success is out of reach.

For more restaurant marketing tips check out the Restaurant Marketing Secrets podcast linked below:

#LeadMarketSell #EntrepreneurLife #shorts

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